Understanding the Relationship as Sanctuary

Understanding the Relationship as Sanctuary

The healing relationship holds a sacred place for people as they search for a path to well-being moments. This relationship offers every possibility for allowing those moments to occur. It is a safe place and a sanctuary that aims to facilitate and bear witness to the experience of well-being.

The healing relationship starts with an agreement to enter the compassion space for the purpose of exploring well-being. Some people enter the compassion space almost effortlessly and without a great deal of resistance. Some move to experience well-being in the compassion space quickly, while others take longer. Understanding how to sit with resistance and eventually let go is part of the relationship as sanctuary.

Resistance can be more intense with relationship sanctuary than with sanctuary formed in connection to a place. So many deep emotions — good and bad — are tied to the memories of our relationships. We enter the healing relationship with a “relationship stance” built upon our history. Within that stance is resistance to sanctuary.

Working with a healer or a guide as a form of relationship sanctuary can be helpful. An experienced guide can show you your resistance obstacles, teach you to move around them, and help you to experience a well-being moment.

Finding healing relationships while battling a chronic illness is tough, but necessary. We are by nature social creatures and our health benefits from nurturing relationships. I long for conversations that explore the sacredness of life rather than the sickness of strife. Chronic illness consumes much of my time, but it does not define me. I’ll always have time for stimulating discourse.

Everything seems so rushed these days. Henry David Thoreau said there was no need for people to travel so fast on those locomotives going 25 mph. I giggled, and then thought that we are still going fast. Relationships are affected by a technological train that steamrolls into our lives without conscious consent. Texts, tweets, and obligatory holiday visits give us brief glimpses of those we love as they go dashing about their lives.

I don’t dash any more. Well, maybe to that emergency bathroom call, but not much else. I remember when I used to dash, both mentally and physically. I can’t push hard like that anymore. Stress hit me hard with the progression I experienced following the ruin of stagnation.

My disease took a turn for the worse this summer. It wasn’t a big crash into a tree, but a noticeable bump in the road. The ruin of stagnation was part of the progression. Everything is more difficult than it was three months ago. It’s hard to share all of this in a way that doesn’t come across as a pity party.

The relationship as sanctuary is a compassion space for me to be heard, understood, welcomed, and embraced. My partner does this day in and day out without complaint. I get tired of being with myself more often than that.

Relationship as sanctuary has been my life’s work. I find that the more I learn, the less I seem to know. It’s an old saying, but it is deeply poignant when applied to the sacred quality within the healing relationship. It is the best thing that I do as a human being in my service to humanity.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

I am a retired professor and research scientist along with being an artist, philosopher, writer, therapist and mystic. I am also a husband, father, grandfather, master gardener and Vietnam Vet. All of these roles influence how PD interacts with my life’s journey.
I am a retired professor and research scientist along with being an artist, philosopher, writer, therapist and mystic. I am also a husband, father, grandfather, master gardener and Vietnam Vet. All of these roles influence how PD interacts with my life’s journey.
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    • Dr. C says:

      Hi Lesley, it is a complex topic and one that I think some of us face with family and friends. One can just keep trying to reach out, inform folks and try not to sound like complaining. I appreciate your taking the time to follow the columns and hope that some of them resonate with all the challenges we face.
      Dr. C.

    • Dr. C says:

      Hi Carol ~ It’s a difficult question to answer in the comment format. It’s very complicated. I’m working on a book to address this very question and hope to be able to share a link in the future to my thoughts on the subject. Thanks for reading the columns and posing the question out there.
      Dr. C.

  1. At some point, life itself becomes a chronic disease. A friend of mine, an MD, told me years ago that “sooner or later, something nasty is going to get you”… I know as a younger person I ignored this, inevitable though it may be. And perhaps that is the only way to deal with it…life goes on until it doesn’t when we step off into the void… And perhaps find nothingness, or maybe find all the answers. No one ever reports back on what they find, and this of course is the great mystery. What is not understood is perhaps 10 million times more than that which is…infinity is a hard number to grasp…

  2. Pamela A says:

    I have been married for 15 years. My husband is too busy to be a caregiver. I don’t know what to do. I am at stage 3 I think. I get overwhelmed very easily.

    • Dr. C says:

      Hi Pamela ~ Thank you for sharing your comment. I can’t give specific advice but many of my columns address what you are talking about. I have found support groups to be very helpful. I would encourage you to find one in your area. Often they can arrange for transportation to the group meetings. Wishing you the very best and hoping you can remain safe and healthy during these difficult times. Thanks for following my columns and the BioNews Today website.
      Dr. C.

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